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Exploring the psychological factors that influence change in online behaviour

School of Psychology

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Dr N Davinson Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Psychologists recognise the way in which someone engages with technology can present threats to online security. Phishing attacks and identity theft attempts often arise from unsafe online behaviours, and users have a significant role to play in avoiding such attacks.
Behaviour change researchers recognise the importance of theoretically driven behaviour change techniques to support effective behaviour change. The project considers the issue of promoting safe and secure online behaviour and how this could be achieved using appropriate behaviour change techniques.


The project aim is to investigate effective behaviour change techniques to promote secure behaviour when disclosing information online.

Potential Applications

The research findings have potential to impact a range of fields including psychology, computer security, and information security.

Entry Requirements

Proposals are invited from self-funded full time applicants. The normal entry requirement for a research degree in psychology is a UK honours degree in Psychology (first or 2:1) or a UK Master’s degree in Psychology (or an international qualification that is regarded as equivalent). Overseas applicant must supply IELTS (British Council) Test: Minimum score level 6 in each of the four areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking with overall minimum score 6.5 issued within the last 2 years or degree certificate from UK or other English-language university awarded in last 2 years.

Information on PhD study, university fees, and making an application can be found at Start dates are 1 October, 1 February, and 1 May.

All international students studying at postgraduate level are awarded a £1,500 scholarship in each year of study. You do not have to apply for this scholarship; it is automatically applied to reduce your total annual tuition fee. The University of Sunderland is an eligible institution for U.S. (Federal School Code: G35073) and Canadian (EI Code: PUFL) Student Finance Programmes.


Dr. Nicola Davinson
School of Psychology
University of Sunderland
City Campus
T: 0191 515 2618
E: [Email Address Removed]

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